Galaxy embarrass Red Bulls in 4-0 romp

IMAGE, NEWYORKREDBULLS.COM

CARSON, CA. — Contenders vs. Pretenders. Men vs. Boys.

Whichever analogy you choose, it certainly goes a long way to describe the differences between the New York Red Bulls and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.

Landon Donovan tied the MLS assist record and drove home a goal of his own in an impressive 4-0 victory over the Red Bulls in front of a lively crowd at the StubHub Center.

“It’s the best team that we faced all year, by a long shot,” Red Bull head coach Mike Petke said after the match. “[The plan] was to be organized and look to sprint on some counters. I thought in the first half, it worked to an extent. We had almost three breakaways on goal. Another one or two half-chances, and we didn’t put any away. They capitalized on our mistakes, which was the theme that I thought we got rid of long ago, but it definitely haunted us tonight. And on the quality side, if we don’t finish our chances, and give them opportunities, they are going to finish it.”

The win keeps LA level with the Seattle Sounders atop the Supporters’ Shield chase (16-5-9, 57 pts.) but leaves New York (10-9-11) at the edge of playoff qualification with 41 points; a single point better than the trailing Toronto FC.

One of Donovan’s assists was put away by Robbie Keane, who enjoyed a masterful performance dissecting the Red Bull defense. An unbelievable chip shot over Luis Robles in the first half gave LA the early lead. While New York certainly did well to challenge the home side, keeper Jaime Penedo was there to deny them; first with Bradley Wright-Phillips and then, Peguy Luyindula and Eric Alexander.

“[Penedo] has done well,” Wright-Phillips acknowledged. “The second one I think I should have scored, but the first one he has done well. He came out, kept himself big. I got to hit the ball a little hard and he saved it. I’m more disappointed with the second one. That had nothing to do with him. That was more on me. I should have got that contact on it.”

New York lost their drive in the second, however, thanks to a deflating goal from Donovan just five minutes into the half. The wily MLS veteran snuck in behind rookie Chris Duvall on a seemingly innocent clearance and picked his pocket, earning a clear shot at Luis Robles and beating the Red Bull net minder to double their lead.

Gyasi Zardes made it 3-0, burying a brilliant give and go with Landon Donovan, besting Robles to the far post. Keane added insult to injury, walking in LA’s fourth goal of the night in a forgettable performance from the Red Bulls.

Team captain Thierry Henry summarized the match in a one sentence statement. “I’ve only got one thing to say…Well done LA.”

The loss caps off an otherwise successful run through September that saw the Red Bulls go 3-1-1 in five matches. With Champions League behind them, New York now look forward to an important and forgiving three-game home stand starting Saturday vs. Houston, followed by Toronto FC and then, the Columbus Crew on the 19th.